Tuesday, 25 March 2014

OUTFIT; The "Spaced Circles and Straight-Up Caramel" Edition

When I left work last summer, I had grand plans of starting my own little shop, selling full skirts and rockabilly-style dresses that I'd be making myself. However, due to a sewing machine malfunction (read: the thing started smoking and ate a full spool of thread) and my other sewing machine being too old for me to use without panicking as it's from 1907, I'd hit a roadblock; there was no way I could fill up a shop with hand-sewn skirts and meet demand if there was any. And if there was no demand, I'd be left with lots of skirts in different sizes! The most I managed to do was make a strawberry skirt the year before, although it was a botched job - loose threads, wonky stitching and bias tape everywhere made it obvious that it was a messy hand-sewn piece.


So I lost hope. Fast forward to last Friday, when I found my old spaceman curtains I'd bought for the forever doomed shop, never to be used...or so I'd thought! By Sunday morning, I had myself a lovely, full circle skirt, complete with a covered elastic waist band, and rolled hem. And the best part? It was all hand-sewn and took about 5 hours in total. I know that with a machine that time would have been more than halved, but hand-stitching is actually quite therapeutic, and to be honest it's opened up that hopeful little door into dreams of the shop. Strawberry Stitches could become an actual thing...! 

I'm blabbering, I know. You all want to see the goods!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

PEEK A BOO!

Earlier today, Ree of Rockalily posted a Peek review of her website. It got me interested, so I did a quick search for myself; basically, Peek is a website where you can enter in your website URL, and within a few hours someone will review the usability and appearance of your site in five minutes, for free.

It intrigued me, because it got me thinking on how my blog may appear to others; I still wasn't happy with it yet, and I couldn't put my finger on why. It was annoying! So here's where Peek came in. I entered in my blog URL, and a couple of hours later an email popped into my inbox with the finished five minute video review. You can watch it here, if you like!

It was of a lovely American lady, going through how my site worked. She went into detail of what she thought of the appearance and what it conveyed, and by the end it was clear to me: my blog no longer clearly outlines what I've set out to do! It doesn't have any real purpose, any real intent, instantly seen by new readers. When you land on a new site, within seconds your mind is made up whether you want to continue reading or not, and that's exactly what Peek delivers - a new readers view, a fresh pair of eyes and honest critique which helps you improve your website.

I found it really eye-opening, and I'm working on improving it when I get back from practice tonight. Thank you Ree for posting the link, and thank you to the lovely lady from Peek!

Would you do something like this? How do you think it could help you?

Amii
xoxo

DISCLAIMER; I was not paid or endorsed to write this blog post. It just seems like an excellent solution on improving your sites usability, and I wanted to share it with you all!

Planning to plan to plan to plan...

A couple of years ago, I started thinking about organising a proper schedule for writing blogs; my posting was far too erratic, either every single day solid for two weeks or nothing at all for three months, and it bugged me. So I looked into getting a little planner, and started gushing over pretty organisers, matching stationary, stickers, post-its...and by the time I finally got myself a (plain, boring Asda) planner, I stressed myself out about trying to stick to a schedule that was far too ambitious for me.
Yes, I actually stressed myself out over what I dictated to myself over a few pieces of paper.

Fast forward to present day, and here I am at the grand old age of 22, realising I need some semblance of routine in my life. I need to know where things are, what's happening on which days, and how much money has came out when. My journal is like my mum, it tells me all of my appointment days, bout dates and keeps me right...except it's more like having multiple mums, because I run my life through four different things.

Yep, I use all four of these and they go where I go. I tried using my phone calendar, but I don't really trust technology (do you have any idea how many phones I've went through in the past five years alone?) and I was proved right when less than three weeks after using it, my phone broke, and I had no idea what was going on. I have an awful memory, and using these has really helped me stick to a routine, and to basically keep myself in check!


The floral planner is Tesco's own, and it's really pretty! Everything to do with blogging and writing is kept in here. One thing I learned is to not beat myself up if I don't do everything - just planning to get things done is enough, and sometimes seeing what I'd like to do is enough motivation to at least try it. It's a week-to-week view, so it's easy to just have a quick read and see what's on the agenda for that day, or if I've got any deadlines coming up that I can get cracking on! Even being able to start writing things one day, photos the next and scheduling it for another day breaks it all up into little chunks and makes everything so much more manageable for me.


The jellybean planner is from Amazon, and I use it to follow roller derby commitments and daily life - everything from doctors appointments, work out days, meeting up with friends, to bout dates and team meetings are kept in here. Since I was voted in as Vice Captain of the Dollies I've had a couple more responsibilities on my plate, so they're easily seen at a glance. I've even got some extra work-outs and training drills kept in the front of the pad, and I take it to training with me every week...yep, they're a bit brutal haha!
I like having two separate planners for two entirely different aspects of my life; it basically helps me keep everything separate so I can concentrate on one thing at a time. I used to use the Jellybean one on its own, but it became really full with plans, training dates and blog ideas and it just confused me to no end. In case you haven't guessed, I'm easily muddled and need to break things down to make my brain work!


That little houndstooth-patterned set is an interesting one! It was one of my first purchases when I decided to sort out my blog, and it caught my eye in TK Maxx because it was so unusual. The Monday-Sunday planner was useful, and the little post it note selection is cute. There's also envelopes in the brocade section, for using the post its as stationary. This really doesn't get much use when it comes to blogging but it comes in handy if I've got something I need to scribble down quickly, and for sending thank-you notes to as well :) I also take it to events so that I have something to write my blog address and details on as I haven't quite gotten around to business cards yet. (If I'm honest they make me feel a bit phony as I'm not a SUPER SERIOUS BLOGGER...)
I got my Nexus 7 for my 21st birthday, and it's my baby! It's compact, sturdy, and a fraction of the price of an iPad; I never thought I'd be one of those people who rely heavily on a tablet, but here I am. I'd like to pretend it's used exclusively for blogging, but of course Netflix, films and Skype are high up on the list! I've got a few photo editing apps on there that do everything I do on Photoshop (I'm not a very big fan of overly editing photos, so resizing and colour-fixing are my main priorities).When I first got my iPhone it took a little while to figure out how to transfer pictures over without losing resolution, but I've resorted to DropBox for that and it works great. I've also got Spotify and some work-out apps on there (the daily butt workout sounds cheesy as hell but it's AWESOME!) - so if you guys are interested in seeing a 'What's on my tablet' style video, let me know!


This is basically an update to this post from two years ago...I cannot believe how obsessive I got over stationary! Aaaand also how obsessive I still am. Come on, who doesn't love a trip to the stationary shop to drool over pretty things? You tell me one person who can happily leave Paperchase without a bag full, go on!

How do you plan your writing? Do you have any posts about your planners?
Love,
Amii
xoxo


PS; funnily enough, I never planned for this post!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

OOTD; The "Birthdays, Bows & Brandon" Edition

My little monster turned 4 on Monday!


I cannot believe that the years have flown in. It's been amazing and emotional looking back on old photos of Brandon, and realising how much he's grown both as a wee person and in his personality as well. I'm very proud of who he is becoming - he is polite, well-spoken, cheery and cheeky. 

He spent the whole day in his Woody costume, and even went to nursery in it; afterwards, we headed off to the Beefeater for his tea (he calls it Burger Moon because of an old sign they had, and the name's just stuck!) Accompanied by Woody, of course.
It gave me a chance to actually get dressed properly, rather than lounging around in leggings and old tops like I have been. I also got to play around with my new lenses - there's a post in the works about them!

Macro truly means macro...you could make out every detail of Brandon's hand. Woody's hand, however, looks a little bit rude...



Dress; New Look
Hairband; New Look
Creepers; TUK, very old!
Coat; TK Maxx
Frilly socks; Dorothy Perkins
Wig; Caramel, c/o Geisha Wigs
Necklace; c/o Punky Pins

You might remember that necklace from my post on Punky Pins last month - it's just so pretty! And I love this coat. I actually bought it around Christmas time; I'd been using the same old boring duffel coat I've been wearing since high school, so I decided I was long due a new winter coat! It's super cute, and makes me feel like a doll, especially when I'm wearing Caramel!
(Apologies for the blurriness, Andrew is a terrible cameraman.)
I picked up the dress in the New Look sale; it's a perfect fit and incredibly flattering. I feel like it's just the right length for me as well, not too long or too short for the kind of look I'm going for, which at my height is hard to find a nice balance! And as an added bonus I found a matching hairband from them as well - score!

I've been really busy these last few weeks, with practically a full schedule for the next few weeks. Not only have I been writing for Rebelicious Magazine, I've also been accepted as a writer for Rollin' News, a worldwide derby site! So I've been writing up interviews and preparing articles for submission, and I've also been caught up with the Men's Roller Derby World Cup - my friends from Power of Scotland were playing, so I was live tweeting that too!
Here, have a bathroom selfie. Everyone loves a bathroom selfie.

In addition, I've been training extra hard with the Voodoo Roller Dollies for our bout against the Flamin' Noras at the end of this month, skating outside more to get some practice in and exercise a bit more, AND sorting things out for going to the Scottish Tattoo Convention the very next day, my whole month is booked solid! I almost forgot that Brandon's birthday comes close to another birthday - ScarletPout! Yes, at the end of the month this wee blog will turn four, which is incredible. I won't be doing anything big to commemorate it, like a giveaway or anything like that (saaaarry!) however I might do a little 'look back' on old designs and posts...which could be fun AND embarrassing, just like a real birthday.

I hope you guys are all good! And thanks so much to those of you who are new round here, you'll get used to the erratic posting, I promise :)

Love,
Amii
xoxo

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

SPOTLIGHT: GalaxyRox

SQUEE! Another one of my articles was published in Rebelicious Magazine! This month, it was all about GalaxyRox, a one-woman powerhouse of glitzy jewels, mouth-watering druzy pendants, and dreamy agate.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Stones, baby. Beautiful, natural gemstones showcased in their natural form, encased in silver and hung from delicate chains, all by GalaxyRox. I caught up with Rox to interview her about her jewellery, and you can read it on Rebelicious' site :)

I am seriously in love with this lady's work. It's ethereal, it's gentle and dreamy - dare I say it? Yes, it's magical. 







Check out more of her work, and keep up to date with her goings on in the links below!

REVIEW: OPERATORIUM JEWELLERY


One thing I love about Instagram is getting to meet amazing people all over the world - even more when those people love what you do, and refer their friends!
This was the case for me recently when Nat over at Drown Soda said to her friend she knew a blogger she liked....that blogger happened to be yours truly, and that friend happened to be Leila, who runs Operatorium Jewellery! (Isn't it lovely how the internet brings people together?)

Well, Leila popped me a wee message and asked if I'd like to review some of her jewellery, and when I opened the package from her a few days later I got a lovely suprise in the form of wrapping - I LOVE wrapping. I'm a total sucker for pretty presentation. Little notes, confetti, sparkly bits, it appeals to my inner magpie! And Operatorium's handwound parcels of music sheets, playing cards and charms definitely was a a lovely, handmade touch.

But enough about the packaging, you're here to read about the jewellery, right?
She sent me this adorable little butterfly pendant, and this unusual triple-draped chain, with charms.
The pendant is actually of one of my favourite species EVER (a Blue Swallowtail Butterfly if you must know - you're reading the ramblings of a girl with three seperate insect tattoos, I like bugs, okay?) and the chain is pretty sturdy. It held up through a week's worth of nursery trips, which means being dragged from pillar to post to meet the lollipop man before the other kids getting there and running through the rain, a trip to the supermarket (where I hoist the bags for life over my shoulder and walk home feeling like Hulk Hogan) and hasn't shown any sign of giving in yet. Big thumbs up for me (and a little squee at the adorable butterfly)

Unfortunately, the triple-decker chain is another story. At first I was really confused about how to unravel it, and it was a little tangled, but I figured it out after unclipping it and letting it fall naturally. And then I went to put it on...and my chubby neck is too big! (I've gained nearly two stone since last summer, so this is kind of the story of my wardrobe right now!) so it did dig in a little, and while I was trying to take it off, the clasp snapped away from its holder. I could put it back together easily, so I think I'll use this as a long collar clipped chain instead of a necklace - curse you, gods of chubby necks!
Regardless, I thought the little charms were super cute - look at the tiny music sheet!

Operatorium offers quirky and unique necklaces and bracelets, and also alternative bridal accessories - take a look at some of her items below!

KEWPIE DOLL || PAPER AEROPLANE || UNICORN || HANDMADE BROOCH BOUQUET

You can check out Operatorium Jewellery on her Facebook, or keep up to date with her work (and her amazing hair!) on Instagram!

Love,
Amii
xoxo